Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


WordPress In Your Pocket

Posted by tomwiles at 5:56 PM on May 14, 2011

WordPress has been around a long time and is quite a powerful web publishing platform available to virtually everyone at no cost.

I finally got around to installing the official WordPress app onto my iPod Touch and I have to say I’m impressed with the app. It quickly accepted the credentials to my own WordPress blog, and I found I could update my site directly from my iPod. More impressive to me was when I discovered the ease with which I was able to take photos (or videos) with the iPod’s camera and instantly embed them into blog posts.

Nothing is more powerful than to be able to quickly update one’s own site with not only words but images as well. The official WordPress for iOS is a free download on the iPod/iPad/iPhone/iOS App Store. If you have a WordPress blog and an iOS device, this free app is worth installing.

Do not Sell your site to the Text Link Farmers!

Posted by geeknews at 12:08 PM on February 14, 2011

Every single day, I get at least 2-3 emails from companies looking to buy text links on Geek News Central.  To date non of them have come from what I would term a valid vendor, most of them are poker sites, or some site looking to boost their page search rank. It has become so common that I send the following email in response.

“I understand your desire to purchase as you describe them targeted text links on this highly valuable website, and because you have taken the time to email me, I would like to inform you of our rates for text links. The cost is $10,000 a month, per link, with a 12 month minimum run payable in advance. All links will have the nofollow tag plus will be put in an area of the website that clearly indicates a sponsored link. Here is my paypal address to make payment”

This is usually enough to get them to go away, but some are persistent and will come back with a counter offer of $100-$500 for a 90 day run.  I ignore these responses do they really think I’m stupid.  What’s sad is that I am sure a lot of sites would sell them text links for that kind of money.

Google has specific policies for link schemes and a site risk being de-listed from the Google search engine for participating in those types of activities. Now I am not sure how I would react if someone actually took me up and deposited the money in my paypal account but at what point will link farm agents start advertising legitimately instead of wasting time trying to get me to risk all the work I have put into this website.

With the news this weekend of JC Penny getting busted doing this, it does not surprise me that 3000+ website owners sold their soul for a few bucks to help JC Penny have a banner sales season during the holidays.

So while the lure of money is great, don’t sell you soul to the text link farmers.

Does The Cloud Have A Dark Side?

Posted by tomwiles at 2:41 PM on July 25, 2010

Does The Cloud Have A Dark Side?For some time we’ve been hearing about the virtues of cloud-based computing.

Certain functions seem to lend themselves to the cloud. Online word processing, spreadsheets, etc. can seem to make sense in some situations, such as collaborating with others.

In everyday use scenarios, does the cloud really make sense in more traditional private computer-use situations? I contend that it does not.

Right now I’m typing this into Microsoft Word on my MacBook Pro. At the moment I have rather lousy Sprint and Verizon connectivity, even though 12 hours ago at this very same location I had really good connectivity from both. The only thing that changed is the time of day. If I was currently limited to using Google Docs chances are I would be unable to write this. Network demand constantly fluctuates depending on the time of day and location.

Is there enough bandwidth available? With the tsunami of smartphones that are on the immediate horizon, will the carriers be able to keep up with the average five-fold bandwidth demand increase that the average smartphone user pulls from the network? Can carriers keep up with a smartphone-saturated public all trying to pull down data at the same time?

However, for the sake of argument let’s say that mobile Internet connectivity isn’t an issue.

What if the Internet is turned off due to a declared cyber attack and all of your documents are online? What good would the network appliance approach to computing be then?

Can e-books be revised after the fact? If government can simply decide to turn off the Internet, then it’s not that much of a leap to imagine laws and regulations being passed banning certain types of blogs or even books that have been deemed dangerous or seditious. There have already been books sold such as “1984” by Amazon that were deleted from Kindles after the fact by Amazon when it was determined that Amazon didn’t have the legal right to sell it in e-book form. What if instead of banning books, they were simply rewritten to remove the offending parts? What’s to stop instant revision of e-books that have been declared dangerous?

Is CNN Calling For Curbs On Free Speech?

Posted by tomwiles at 11:09 PM on July 23, 2010

On July 23, 2010, CNN anchors Kyra Phillips and John Roberts discussed on air the idea that bloggers should be somehow “held accountable” or perhaps regulated in some way. Here’s the video of that exchange.

It’s no secret that CNN and other so-called mainstream media outlets, both broadcast and print, have had for some time now an ongoing loss of viewers and readers. A number of traditional journalists from time to time have had and expressed an almost open hostility towards bloggers and the Internet. They perceive the Internet as a threat to their business models, and their vaunted self-appointed job as information “gatekeepers.”

If you look back over the past few years, almost every major story, particularly scandal stories, originated first on blogs. In many cases the mainstream media were dragged kicking and screaming into reporting stories. The clearly forged National Guard documents that ultimately ended up forcing CBS to fire evening news anchor Dan Rather comes to mind from a few years ago. Bloggers quickly picked up on the fact that the supposed National Guard documents had been typed up in the default template for Microsoft Word and then ran through a fax and/or copy machine a number of times to make the documents look dirty and/or old. The trouble was, Microsoft Word didn’t exist in 1973. If it weren’t for bloggers, this story would have likely never come to public light, and what is clearly a forgery and a made-up story would have passed into the public mind as the truth.

Should free speech be curbed? Should bloggers somehow be licensed or officially regulated in what is purportedly a free country? Should we be forced to get our news from “professional” or even “licensed” journalists?

Web Reporting. Can doesn’t equal should.

Posted by GNC at 5:04 AM on November 8, 2009

1178168_54262801 2-250rdWatching the news has always been a necessary evil.  It seems filled with tragic and depressing stories.  On occasion I have doubted the wisdom in showing what is shown.  In an unofficial and unresearched opinion, it seems to me that the more murder suicide stories they show about a man and his family, the more that occur.  Sick people are not helped and deterred by seeing the stories.  Healthy people are no safer.  I’ve had the unfortunate task of going with the police to give news of a murder suicide to a family.  Should I Twitter, Facebook, or blog about it?
Paul Carr over at Tech Crunch has written a second time about the subject of unwise and foolish micro-bloggers.  My summary:  Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  We have had storm chasers, now we have Twitter and blogging chasers?  It frightens me.  Many times I’ve heard Todd Cochrane, the host of GNC, say “I’m not ready to comment on this until I’ve thought it through.”  How can we pass on some of Todd’s common sense to the rest of the world?
Censorship and regulation frightens us.  Anarchy and absence of accountability  scares me much more.  I have friends who are citizens of countries other than the United States.  They know what it is like to live in a dictatorship or close to it.  As a matter of fact I am currently touring countries with much less freedom.  I am not speaking without a foreign awareness.  The same freedom of the press and freedom of speech that we hold dear, we could be using as a weapon of destruction upon ourselves.  We must act responsibly.  Hold our tongue.  Getting the news out is secondary to immediate concern for the people involved.
This week in Florida a missing baby was found alive.  Further news revealed that the mother was part of the disappearance.  That baby will forever be etched in the inter-webs and sought after for interviews when she is a teen.  “How does it feel to have had your mother fake your kidnapping when you were a child?”  Maybe it should be a live Twitter interview.
Well enough of the rant.  Next article I’ll give some of my opinions on responsible blogging and micro-blogging.  Thanks for reading and taking a few minutes to think through it all before you react.

Bloggers have it. Newspapers want it.

Posted by GNC at 6:58 AM on May 23, 2009

There are many articles comparing the pros and cons of physical print news versus the online/blogging news.  The following lists are not pros and cons but what each group has that the other side wants.  What could happen with the merging of the two?  Thanks to Tech Crunch for stirring my brain.

What Newspapers Have and Bloggers Want/Need:

  1. Bloggers have less official access to many press conferences and meetings. Who gets the press pass?  How do you get the press pass?  Will it not eventually recreate a few sources for news as different agencies pick and stick with favorites?  Newspapers made narrowing it down easy.
  2. covetBloggers have less incentive/time to investigate and search out multiples sources. Bloggers seem to surf the web not pound the streets and interview people face to face.  Newspapers live that way.
  3. Bloggers write about what interests them, not what interests others. With no boss giving assignments, who will report on those needed but sometimes mundane happenings?  Will we be stuck piecing together all of our news from 500 RSS feeds?  Newspapers make basic world, national, and local news easy.
  4. Bloggers are not the one “go to” place for news. Difficult to find a local blogger.  I do not know of a single blogger reporting on news in our area of 175,000 people .  I guess I would have to look if the paper shut down.
  5. Bloggers have less accountability/oversight to preserve the truth. I know, I know, that the community could police itself just like Wikipedia.  I’m not sure they will or really have the ability.  Besides, most people believe whatever they read and probably won’t go back to see any updates or corrections.

What Bloggers Have and Newspapers Want/Need:

  1. Print Media has a narrow chain of command that dictates what and when news is published. It is no wonder why dictator, communistic, and extreme governments want control of the media?  Why are news agencies tending to endorse political candidates? The news has been far from fair and balanced for a long, long time.  Blogs are more numerous, yield less individual influence, say what they think, and allow more free interaction.
  2. Print Media has a need to make a larger profit.  Bloggers hope to pay the bills.  There is nothing wrong with this.  It is the goal of every business owner to make money.  Why should newspapers be any different?  The problem is that it is a very low margin/no margin business that is about to go on a ventilator.  The motivation and ability to survive is decreasing.
  3. Print Media has a high overhead for getting the news to the reader. Ouch this is number one.  Manufacturing and delivery is expensive.  Presses are extremely expensive, paper is expensive, labor is expensive, management is expensive, delivery is expensive.   The web does it on the cheap.  I can deliver the same news to as many people for pennies on the dollar as a blogger.  And it won’t take much ad revenue to pay for that delivery.
  4. Print Media has few ways to guage how much of their content is read. The newspaper does not create a log file ever time my eyes read a certain article or ad.  Advertisers are left to subjective decisions on whether business increased because of the ad most of the time.  The web brings freedom and analytics.
  5. Print Media locks down the content and its distribution. There is no open source in this land.  Republish the AP article and receive a DMCA.  Everything is copyrighted.
  6. Print media now publishes old news. 24 hours is not soon enough.  12 hours is not soon enough.  2 hours is not soon enough.  What do you mean “The game was not finished as of press time”?  By the time your article reaches me 36 hours after the game, you have lost me.  I can visit a site, use an RSS reader to get the headlines, or subscribe to email updates and text alerts.  I do not even have to wait for the “top of the hour”, “quarter of the hour” news on the radio.

Enough of my opinion.  What is the real truth?  Will you, the community, let me know?  Are we really ready for this new world of news?

Mark Cuban. MLB Savior?

Posted by GNC at 8:57 AM on August 8, 2008

Mark Cuban is among many who are bidding to buy the Chicago Cubs. Whether you like this guy or not it would be fantastic for Major League Baseball, not to mention the Cubs. MLB has had all kinds of troubles over the past decade or so from steroids to player strikes to an incompetent commissioner in Bud Selig. While these things have hurt “America’s Pastime”, it is the refusal to do new things & let the status quo go unchecked that bothers me most. Mark Cuban is one of the brightest people on the planet so I’d be more apt to make him commissioner than just an owner of a single team. As owner of the Cubs he could affect change by changing how his team does things so others will follow suit. I think Mark would have better ideas than turning a blind eye to steroid use just to get attendance numbers back up. He might actually institute some new technology and ideas.

The first thing he could do is make baseball players more accessible to fans. Nascar blew up because the average fan could talk to the drivers and team members in the pit area. His personal blog often covers his NBA team so instantly the average fan will get thoughts on their favorite team from the top guy. The next thing he would do would likely get the Cubs on HDNET as well as their local WGN channel. That would expand the viewership which is already huge for the Cubs. Another improvement he could make is push for better technology for the strike zone which is subjective to which human umpire is on the job. Also he could try to improve the game by speeding it up with a pitch clock that keeps the action going instead of wasting time between pitches. No one has time for four hour baseball games anymore. The biggest thing Cuban could do for baseball is just be different than all the ancient owners that are currently there. These guys likely don’t care about high def, the internet, and have never heard of a blog. Even if you disagree with Cuban’s position on online videos and other issues relating to the web, at least he understands what is going on. He is not stuck in the 80′s or 90′s. As an owner he would have a voice in overall baseball policies. When Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks that team was a joke but he turned them into a perpetual winner with great attendance. Think about what he could do with a team that already has a great fan base.

Likely the powers that be in Major League Baseball won’t allow Cuban to get into their elitist club because they like things the way they are currently. People don’t like change especially when it threatens their powerful positions. It is similar to how old media is holding on for dear life resisting change that is already here. The current leaders in baseball would rather keep things “the way we have always done it” than make a change for the better.

Bloggers as journalists

Posted by todd at 5:20 AM on March 27, 2008

I posted a few days ago about old media trying to change to look more like new media, and how this opened a gap for new media to take over the role of true journalism. A post in Gizmodo about the management disagreements within Motorola show that at least in some areas this metamorphosis is quite advanced.

The article shows a copy of a letter from a disgruntled senior manager to the new CEO Greg Brown. It is not a new thing for a disgruntled employee to release information about the company they are unhappy with. In this case the employee was unhappy with the actions in the executive that were driving the company he was dedicated to under. He turned out to be at least partially right.

What would have happened in the past is this would have been sent to a newspaper or TV, and it is a sign that things are changing that this went to a blog instead. What is disappointing is that even though Gizmodo had this before the trouble Motorola was in became public knowledge, it wasn’t until they announced their restructure that Gozmodo realised what they had. This is probably an experience thing though, Gizmodo is used to distributing the news rather than breaking it.

Some PayPerPost Bloggers Punished by Google Tough Luck!

Posted by geeknews at 8:16 PM on November 17, 2007

DunceAll I can say, is that if the bloggers that were punished by Google are in the group of people who did not disclose in their articles that they were paid to post “tough luck”. If you have been disclosing in your post then tough luck for being associated with a company, that many of us thought was highly unethical.

If your pagerank was lowered because of sheer association with PayPerPost, then maybe next time you will pick an advertising partner that will not get your pagerank removed.

Google should go after SEO people like Neil Patel next, and punish bloggers that work under his model of paying for links within bloggers articles and not disclosing that they are paid links and whatever other schemes he and people like him have going. 

The thing that is going to be tough for Google to figure out is that people like him work under the radar as much as possible, and he and others like him are part of a very disgusting bottom feeder group that only want to line their pockets with money from companies desperate to be found at the top of the Google search result without having earned that search rank.

The more I here about these Ponzi schemes one thing for sure is that if I read a article on the net today and I don’t 100% trust the source I will treat the article and the links within the article as suspect. IZEA Also Known as PayPerPost

 

Microsoft gives Laptops to Bloggers with Vista Loaded!

Posted by todd at 8:12 PM on December 27, 2006

The first question I have for those that got Laptops from Microsoft is this. Have you ever been critical of the company? My guess is that just like Santa Clause checking his list to see who has been naughty and nice, my guess is that those bloggers that got laptops have been pretty nice to Microsoft.

Don’t get me wrong I think companies sending out software and hardware is a terrific idea but usually when I get gear like that their is a 30 day time limit and I have to send it back. I hope that these bloggers all disclose the gift and manage to stay objective in the opinions they write.

The question is do these bloggers now have to disclose the gift on every article they write about Vista? It will be a interesting experiment to track the blogs and see how they report on Vista thats for sure. [Wired]